Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA) Bump Bites Option Bears

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA) is rallying on a rate cut from the People's Bank of China (PBOC)

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:40 AM

E-tailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is 4% higher this morning at $73.86, boosted by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) rate cut. Such sharp upswings are relatively rare for a stock that's surrendered close to 29% year-to-date, and from the looks of it, option traders may not be too happy about the gains.

According to data at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), traders have rarely bought to open BABA puts over calls at a faster rate than they have in recent months. Specifically, the equity's 50-day put/call volume ratio across this trio of exchanges is 0.86 -- or 4 percentage points from a 12-month peak.

In today's trading, though, option players are responding to BABA's surge by targeting calls at an accelerated clip. Specifically, the contracts are changing hands at nearly triple the expected mid-morning pace, with potential buy-to-open activity at the out-of-the-money November 75 call -- the stock's most active strike so far. In fact, data from the ISE confirms a number of long positions have been initiated.

Shifting to the brokerage bunch, this group has been far more upbeat toward Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) than the options crowd. Nineteen of 22 analysts rate the equity a "buy" or better, with not a single "sell" rating on the books. Plus, BABA's consensus 12-month price target of $91.61 stands at a 24% premium to current levels. Looking ahead, the electronic retailer is slated to report earnings before the open next Monday, Oct. 26, and shareholders are probably hoping for the reaction to mirror that of this rival.

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